What I Can and Cannot Keep


I went on a walk with my mom last week and we ended up by the river. These walks are one of my favorite things about moving home - I love that they are often unplanned and that our destination is not fixed. It’s just walking and talking and seeing what we see.

It’s been so warm here (at least, warm by Colorado-winter standards) so I didn’t expect to see any ice on the river - but there were large stretches that had completely frozen over. It was thin, for sure, and not strong enough to hold my weight more than a few steps out from the banks, but it was good to see that the cold had at least touched this one place.

In a few spots the ice had melted away altogether, and through these holes the river could be seen, alive and flowing. Here and there in these open spaces, pieces of ice that had broken away from the rest of the frozen sheet had become caught on the rocks, pushed above the waterline as they were carried downstream. It was the edges of these ice shards that caught my eye, lace-edged and glittering in the sun. Delicate and wispy though they were, they spun the light in the most fantastic manner and it was hard to look away. 

So I did what I often do and stopped to take a picture so that I might re-live the moment later. But though I tried, I was unable to capture even a hint of that icy splendor with my camera. In fact, I couldn’t even bring myself to snap a single photo, so inadequate was my framing of the scene.

And the moment I had that realization, that I wasn’t going to be able capture the ice with my lens, I had another thought - that my aim was probably good enough for me to throw a pebble and dislodge the ice from the stones, sending it down the river and away, smashed to pieces.

And that thought gave me pause.

Because there’s always a part of me that wants claim nature’s magic as my own. And a part of me saying that if I can’t own it, capture it, contain it  - then I can surely destroy it, for in that destruction I can show my power.

But won’t hold with that line of thinking - fear-based and worried that if I’m not the strongest or the most in control then I must not be enough. I choose to think that it’s better to be one tiny piece of the circle than the top of the pyramid.

I let the pebble fall from my hands. 

Maybe the ice melted that afternoon. Maybe it’s there still. Maybe someone else got to linger on the bank, open-mouthed and awed by the sight. I let nature decide.

The wonder I felt upon seeing such beauty is all that I can call my own. And it’s all I took with me as we turned our backs and walked on.


On the creative front, both cats are once again covered in paint but the first stage of building my dream studio is complete! Back in November, we pulled off the closet doors and added shelves to help me organize my supplies. Then in December, we ripped out the built-in that was taking up the whole southwest wall and painted the walls a glorious winter-white. Last week saw me setting up all of my tools and stations and just yesterday we hung the new overhead light.

I’m working to create a space that is soft and warm and bright (to contrast the often hard and heavy work that is metalsmithing). There’s much to do and build and buy and decorate, but for now I’m feeling quite grateful to be headed into my first full week of the new year in a space that has me feeling so inspired